Work from home all day in the lockdown and add to that awkward meetings on Zoom, Google Meet and what not. Don’t know where to stare, where to look at during presentations? Also don’t want to appear awkward at the same time either? Well here comes a good news for you, but you have to take it with a pinch of salt. A new Windows 10 feature built by Microsoft- ‘Eye Contact’ is here to make your meetings a lot more friendlier with a lot less of hours of awkwardness.
While all is fine and dandy, there’s a catch too. Not everyone will be able to make use of this rather godsent feature. The bad news is that for the moment, Microsoft’s Eye Contact will only work on Microsoft’s Surface Pro X laptop that running on Windows 10. It is activated by Microsoft’s Surface app. It seems that the device has been chosen as it is powered by the Microsoft SQ1 processor, having integrated ARM based AI processing capabilities. Eye Contact uses this AI power to make it look as if the user is looking straight at the camera, even if they are gazing elsewhere.
Note that this app wasn’t available when the Surface X Pro first went on sale. Now, after almost a year after the original announcement, Microsoft has begun rolling our Eye Contact as a part of its Windows 10 Insider Preview build 20175. This could also mean that the feature update could have a broader release in the future as well.
Now for those who can make use of this useful tool, they’ll be glad to know that it is available for any app that makes us of the front camera, for both Microsoft based services like Skype, Microsoft Teams as well as non Microsoft based services like Zoom, Google Meet etc. Note that, the app will only work on the landscape mode. It has been further warned that it can drain the laptop’s battery slightly faster as well, so be sure to keep that charger close!
This update has come shortly after Microsoft Teams added a slew of features to outrun the competition. While it trails behind Zoom, the current market leader in the field, it recently revealed that it has crossed 75 million daily active users. It even unveiled a new ‘personal life’ version to change its brand perception of being just a work platform.
What’s noteworthy is that Microsoft doesn’t seem to be the only company experimenting and working on AI corrected gaze features. A similar feature is, apparently, in the works for Apple as well- FaceTime Attention Correction. It had initially showed up on the beta releases of iOS 13, but was pulled out from the final release. However, it can be expected to be launched this year with the iOS 14 release this year. It is even featured on Apple’s iOS 14 website as well, so Apple users may not have to wait too long.
So what are your thoughts on this interesting and new feature? Will it be useful for your day long office conferences and endless online meetings? Are you looking forward to a broader release for all users? Do share your thoughts below!